27th January, is Holocaust Memorial Day, the date that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. The Holocaust Memorial Trust, schools, community organisations and others have organised a wide range of events across the country to commemorate this and to remember the millions of people who died during the Holocaust and the genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.
‘Don’t stand by’ is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016. It is important that we continue to remember and learn the lessons, to help challenge discrimination, racism and violence today and for future generations.
Last week in Parliament, I voted against the UK Government’s plans to scrap maintenance grants for students from poorer backgrounds, replacing them with additional loans. This will mean that the poorest 40% of students going to university in England will graduate with debts of up to £53,000 from a three-year course. Thankfully this will not apply in Wales as our Welsh Labour Assembly Government continues to support grants to students recognising that the absence of grant support could make poorer students think twice about going into higher education due to the considerable debts they will acquire. Unfortunately, despite a strong case being put forward, the Tory Government used their majority to press ahead with their plans to scrap the grants.
Last week, I along with many others, was sad to hear that Huw Lewis AM is not seeking re-election in this year’s Assembly Elections. I have worked closely with Huw for many years whilst I was a County Councillor and I have witnessed the way in which he has represented our constituency with passion and dedication. Huw has been a strong advocate for the regeneration of our area and has helped to bring about many of the regeneration projects that have benefited our communities. Whatever Huw decides to do in the future, I wish him well.
This article was originally published by the Merthyr Express and the Rhymney Valley Express. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised or would like to know more, feel free to contact Gerald using the contact tab above.